Wisconsin gov. warns of massive layoffs if state Democrats don't return

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) repeated his warning that if some of the 14 Democratic state senators who fled the state don't return by the end of the week there could be massive governmental layoffs.

"They should be doing the job that they were ultimately elected to do," Walker said at a press conference Wednesday.

Walker said that if the Democrats don't return to the state capitol in Madison to vote on a budget repair bill, there could be as many as 1,500 layoffs of government workers. Walker said there would be "dire consequences" for the state economy if the Senate Democrats continue to block voting.

Republicans control only 19 of 33 seats in the state Senate, and a minimum of 20 senators must vote on budgetary bills. The rest of the state Senate seats are controlled by Democrats, so only a few of the senators have to be present to vote on a budgetary measure.

Roughly a fortnight ago the 14 Democrats fled the state in protest of the bill, which includes legislation that would cut back on some union bargaining rights. Since then union advocates have swarmed the capitol to protest the measure, demanding that it be killed.

If the senators returned, the state Senate would be called back into session and the bill they are protesting would likely pass.

Since the Democrats left the state, Walker has been challenging them to come back, even ordering state police to bring them back if they are within the state's borders.

The bill and its resulting protests have garnered national attention from the press and both Democratic and Republican politicians. Earlier Wednesday, Walker was prank-called by a liberal blogger pretending to be a wealthy Republican donor. In the call, Walker talked about possible ways to bring the Senate Democrats back to Madison and back to the State Legislature.

In the press conference earlier Wednesday, Walker said that he stood by everything he said in the prank call.

"The bottom line is the things I said are the things I've said publicly all along," Walker said.

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